2012 / RLegacy Entertainment
Review by Michael Debbage
Pianist William Joseph under the tutelage of world renowned David Foster released two stellar albums that were criminally overlooked by the general public. The killer b’s of brilliant, bombastic and beautiful come to mind in an effort to describe both his debut album Within as well as the even more impressive follow up Beyond. His third release Be Still is a completely different road travelled, so if you are looking for his over the top performance, be prepared to be disappointed as brilliant and bombastic do not come to mind in describing this project. Nevertheless, beautiful and bewildering do as Joseph takes a much more reflective approach focusing on a collection of beloved hymns.
Obvious choices are the beloved hymns such as “Come Thou Fount”, “Be Still My Soul”, “How Great Thou Art” and “Amazing Grace”, but it is wonderful to hear lesser known pieces such as the stunning “With Royal Praise” as well as the deep tones of “Jesus Once Of Humble Birth”. Both tracks completely focus on Joseph’s piano work which is simply startling. In fact, the vast majority of the album is about the piano man though there are a couple of lightly embellished tracks featuring light strings such as the previously mentioned “Be Still My Soul”, “I Know My Redeemer Lives” as well as the slow stirring self composed “I Rest In You”.
While you certainly will need a completely new perspective to enjoy this delicate project, once that adjustment is made the listening experience is heavenly. The focus here is a much more reflective and somber performance in which Williams’ acrobatic executions of the past are replaced with a gorgeous tender touch. So much, that Be Still will allow you to live out its title and permit you to retreat and find a quiet and peaceful place in a world full of fast fixes and immediate gratifications.
February 9, 2013